12 Best Cross Training Shoes 2021: Fusing Versatility and Support

Best Cross Training Shoes 2019

When you’re moving from burpees to lunges to lifting to a rope climb, you want to be sure that your workout shoes can keep up with you. But how do you make sure that your shoe is flexible enough for lateral movements, stable enough for deadlifts, breathable enough for intense workouts, and comfortable, all at the same time?

Enter the cross training shoe, the hybrid of running sneakers, tennis shoes, and basketball shoes that’s versatile enough to keep up with whichever workout you throw its way. With the right pair of cross trainers, you’ll eliminate the need to switch shoes between workouts and save the money you otherwise would have spent on other types of workout shoes.

Because this shoe can serve so many needs in one, you’ll want to make sure you pick the right pair for you. Knowing what to look for in a cross training shoe and what the best shoes on the market are for different needs before you hit the stores will help ensure you walk away with a shoe that’s the best possible fit for your workouts and budget.


Top Cross Training Shoes 2019 Comparison Chart

ProductHeel TypeUpper MaterialPriceWhere to Buy?
NOBULL Training ShoesFlatSuperFabric$$$Check on Amazon
New Balance Minimus 40RaisedSynthetic/Mesh$$$Check on Amazon
Reebok Crossfit Nano 2.0FlatSynthetic/Mesh$$$Check on Amazon
Nike Metcon 4FlatMesh$$$Check on Amazon
New Balance Minimus 40RaisedSynthetic/Mesh$$$Check on Amazon
New Balance Wx608v4 Training ShoeRaisedLeather/Mesh$$Check on Amazon
PUMA Tazon 6RaisedSynthetic Leather$$Check on Amazon
ASICS Gel-Craze TR 4RaisedSynthetic/Mesh$$Check on Amazon
RYKA Women’s Influence Cross Training ShoeFlatSynthetic$$Check on Amazon
Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross TrainerRaisedLeather$$Check on Amazon
Vibram KSO EVOFlatPolyester$$Check on Amazon
Inov-8 Fastlift Cross-Trainer ShoeRaisedNylon Ripstop$$$Check on Amazon


Cross Training Shoes 2019 Buying Guide

The right shoe will be different for each person depending on your workout routine, foot shape and size, budget, and more. Whatever the goal of your cross training is, whether it’s to supplement running, build flexibility and strength, or simply to challenge yourself physically, you’ll want to pick a shoe that can help you reach those goals and help prevent injuries.

There are a few shoe features you’ll want to consider to make sure you find the perfect pair.

Foot Shape

Certain features on cross training shoes make them better fits for certain foot types. If you have high arches, you’ll want to look for a pair with a cushioned sole to maximize comfort. If you have flat feet, it’s more important to look for a pair that are called neutral, since these will keep your feet stable.

There are a few types of cross trainers that doctors recommend specifically for people with plantar fasciitis as well, which have features that will help relieve foot pain. Certain brands and styles also have size runs that cater to wide feet, narrow feet, or large feet, so be sure to check out a brand’s size run if one of these features is a concern for you.


Just like when you shop for any type of shoes, you’ll want to make sure the shoes aren’t too big or too small and fit properly. A pair that are too small will cause discomfort, while a pair that are too large could give you blisters. You may want to measure your feet before you go shopping, as your shoe size can change over time. Wiggle your toes when you try on a pair to find out where the top of the shoe is — you should have about a thumbnail of space (about half an inch) between the top of the shoe and your toe.

The heel of the shoe should feel snug, so your heels don’t slide in and out of the back of the shoes. The only exception to this is toe shoe cross trainers, like Vibrams, where you’ll want to make sure you have a snug fit overall, since these shoes are meant to fit like a glove and have a barefoot effect, since these will naturally stretch a bit over time.


A shoe’s heel to toe drop is the height difference between the shoe’s heel and toe. Shoes with low drop are closer to the ground, while shoes with high drop are more elevated. A higher drop is ideal for activities like running or lifting, where you’ll want a stable heel and support to plant your weight on, while a lower drop will give you more flexibility for lateral movements. Generally, cross training shoes have a lower drop, but you may want to look for ones with a higher drop if lifting is a large part of your cross training routine. The average drop of cross training shoes is 4mm, whereas most running shoes have an average drop of 8 mm.


You’ll be doing a variety of exercises in your cross trainers, so it’s really important to make sure they’re comfortable. Bring workout socks with you to try on the shoes to get an idea of what they’ll feel like with the socks you normally wear. Walk, shift, and move side to side in the shoes. Do your ankles, toes, and heels feel supported? Do the shoes feel flexible enough that you can move without discomfort?

A common mistake many people make with buying cross trainers is believing that they can break the shoes in. Cross trainers should feel comfortable the first time you wear them, otherwise they’re not the right shoe for you.


The uppers on cross training shoes, which is the part that covers your foot and toes, are usually made of either leather or a breathable mesh material. The kind you choose will depend on your needs. If you tend to sweat a lot when you work out, a breathable mesh material will ensure your feet stay cool and ventilated, and will make the shoes more flexible.

If you don’t sweat much when you work out or if your feet need extra support, a leather upper might be a better choice for you. If you plan on working out in the elements, shoes with leather uppers are generally more water-resistant than those made of mesh as well.


Cross training shoes generally have more traction than walking or running shoes because they’re meant for use on hard, indoor surfaces and side to side movements, but you’ll still want to test the traction of your shoes before you buy. The shoes should feel like they’re gripping the floor below you, and they should feel steady when you move side to side in them. Many cross training shoes have treads with a sticky feeling, which will give you extra traction on slippery or difficult surfaces, like a gym floor or climbing rope.


Because you’ll be doing a variety of exercises in your cross training shoes, you’ll want to make sure they support your feet well, specifically that they have strong lateral support for side to side movements. Shoes that don’t have strong lateral support could cause your feet to slip over the edge of the shoes and increase your risk of injury. Many cross training shoes have cages or a leather upper that will help keep your feet in place to help prevent this.


One of the benefits of buying cross training shoes is that you can use them for a variety of workouts, so make sure that the shoes you pick would be comfortable for all the different types of exercise you plan to use them for, not just for one kind of workout.

If your workouts consist of lots of deadlifts, make sure you look for a pair that’s stable and will keep your feet in place. If you’re a rope climbing fanatic, shoes with sticky grips to keep you from sliding will be an important factor. If you’re planning on doing a lot of burpees and jumps, a pair with foam or extra cushion will help absorb shock and keep your feet comfortable.


Although you may have a tried and true favorite brand for workout gear, make sure you try on cross training shoes from a few different brands before you decide to buy. Cross trainers from each brand will fit differently and may have different benefits. For example, some brands will cater more towards wide or narrow feet, have a higher or lower price point, or be designed with specific types of exercise in mind. You may be surprised by which brands you prefer.

Frequency of Cross Training

A general rule of thumb is that cross training shoes should be replaced every 100 workout hours for maximum performance. When the shoe’s midsole starts to get deep wrinkles, it means its time to replace them. How often you workout and for how long will help you determine how long a pair of cross training shoes will last you, which can help you decide how much you might want to spend on a pair. If you tend to do frequent, high-impact workouts, finding a stable shoe with lots of support will be important.

However, if you don’t workout as frequently or really need flexibility for lateral movements or Zumba, a flexible, lightweight shoe is a better bet for your money. In addition, you shouldn’t use your cross training shoes when you’re not working out, as this will wear the shoes down faster.


Compare your shoes to other models of cross training shoes and across brands. How much do similar pairs cost? How do certain features of the shoe factor into the price? How many uses will you get from the pair relative to the price? Cross training shoes typically range from around $40 up to $120, so there are options for any budget.

If possible, it’s best to try on a variety of shoes from a variety of different brands so you can compare features, fit, comfort levels, and more. The 12 shoes listed below are the best choices for cross trainers to combine comfort with quality and versatility, and cover all bases when it comes to types of workouts, fit, and features.


Best Cross Training Shoes 2019 Reviews

1. NOBULL Training Shoes

With a lightweight, breathable design, an outsole lug pattern made for indoor and outdoor use, and a sleek, modern look, it’s no surprise that the NOBULL Training Shoes are a favorite in the cross training community. Many prefer them to Nike Metcons and Reebok Crossfit Nanos that they’ve worn in the past. Firm but comfortable with a large toe box and good support, these are ideal for lifting, running, and climbing.

The shoe’s upper is made of SuperFabric, a durable and breathable material that’s abrasion-resistant. The SuperFabric’s guard plates sit on a flexible mesh base layer to create a 360-degree shield. High carbon lateral and medial guards add additional protection to the sidewalls. The shoes come in a variety of colors. NOBULLS tend to run narrow, and the company recommends ordering a half size up if you’re in-between sizes.

However, these shoes may not be the best choice for anyone looking for a price-conscious option — the cost of NOBULL’s runs high compared to similar shoes on the market. The shoes are also not water resistant, so anyone hoping to train in inclement weather would be better suited buying a different pair.



  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Many think they outperform Nike Metcons & Reebok Crossfit Nanos



  • Expensive
  • Run narrow
  • Not water resistant


2. New Balance Minimus 40

Hailed by many avid cross trainers as the top shoe choice, the New Balance Minimus 40 is a lightweight, flexible choice that’s ideal for running and lifting. The shoe’s features make it an good choice for a variety of workouts — co-mold in the forefoot helps propel you during runs, while a REVlite heel keeps you stable while lifting. The Minimus 40 also totes an external heel clip, a Vibram sole and outsole, a molded external counter, and a TPU yarn woven mesh upper. The shoes have a 4 mm drop, and offer average arch support.

Unlike most other New Balance shoes, these tend to run a little narrow, so they may not be an ideal choice for anyone who turns to New Balance because of their tendency to make wider shoes. Although the Minimus 40’s are generally versatile, users find they’re not the best for rope climbing. They also tend towards the higher price range, in a similar bracket as the NOBULL Training Shoes.



  • Good for running and lifting
  • Flexible
  • Co-mold forefoot
  • Lightweight



  • Run narrow
  • Not good for rope climbing
  • Expensive


3. Reebok Crossfit Nano 2.0

Reebok’s sturdy, supportive Crossfit Nano 2.0 is an ideal choice for stability and comfort. With an upper that’s a hybrid of mesh and synthetic leather, the shoes also offer a padded tongue and collar, an EVA midsole for cushioning, and a low-to-the-ground feel with a 4mm drop.

The DuraGrip toe cap, rubber sole, and textured outsole give the shoe additional stability and longevity to last through tough workouts. They’re flexible, low cut, and have a flat sole, making them a stylish option as well. The 2.0s also have a roomier toe box than many competitors, making them ideal for anyone who needs the extra space. The price range on the 2.0s varies depending on the size and color you prefer.

The 2.0s tend to run small, so many prefer to size up when buying them. Long-time Reebok fans tend to think the 2.0s are not the same quality as previous versions, so if you’ve bought Reeboks in the past, these may fall a bit short of what previous versions offered, although they’re still a solid choice for cross training.



  • Stable
  • Low-to-the-ground
  • Roomier toe box



  • Run small
  • Not the same quality as previous versions


4. Nike Metcon 4

If you’re a fan of the previous versions of the Nike Metcons, the Nike Metcon 4s don’t disappoint. Made of mesh with a durable, 3D-printed upper, the Nike Metcon 4 is ideal for burpees, box jumps, jumping rope, and more. The shoe’s drop-in midsole and firm rubber heel helps keep you stable, while the flexible yet sticky rubber forefoot provides traction.  A low-profile heel clip helps minimize drag for activities like handstand pushups, and the shoe’s laces are integrated with flywire cables to provide a dynamic fit. Overall, the Nike Metcon 4 is a great choice for high-intensity interval training if you’re willing to spend a little more money.

If your workout routine includes running, you may want to try a more cushioned pair of cross trainers, since the Metcon 4s don’t have a lot of padding, and are not recommended for running. Although most buyers have been satisfied with their Metcon 4s, a few have complained of the sole separating from the shoe quickly, which indicates that not all batches may be of the same quality.



  • Great for high-intensity workouts
  • Stable
  • Good traction



  • Higher price point
  • Not cushioned
  • Sole separation possible


5. New Balance Minimus 40

Hailed by many avid cross trainers as the top choice, the New Balance Minimus 40 is a lightweight, flexible choice that’s ideal for running and lifting. The shoe’s features make it an good choice for a variety of workouts — co-mold in the forefoot helps propel you during runs, while a REVlite heel keeps you stable while lifting. The Minimus 40 also totes an external heel clip, a Vibram sole and outsole, a molded external counter, and a TPU yarn woven mesh upper. The shoes have a 4 mm drop, and offer average arch support.

Unlike most other New Balance shoes, these tend to run a little narrow, so they may not be an ideal choice for anyone who turns to New Balance because of their tendency to make wider shoes. Although the Minimus 40’s are generally versatile, users find they’re not the best for rope climbing. They also tend towards the higher price range, in a similar bracket as the NOBULL Training Shoes.



  • Good for running and lifting
  • Flexible
  • Co-mold forefoot
  • Lightweight



  • Run narrow
  • Not good for rope climbing
  • Expensive


6. New Balance Wx608v4 Training Shoe

If you’re in need of a comfortable cross trainer that will provide extra cushioning and support, the leather New Balance Wx608v4 is an ideal choice. Recommended for anyone with plantar fasciitis, the Wx608v4 keeps your feet stable with a combination of soft and firm density foam in the collar. The shoes also feature an IMEVA midsole, low-top shaft, removable insoles, and a rubber sole, and its design gives you plenty of flexibility in the forefoot. Wx608v4’s run at a lower price point as well, making them a wallet-friendly choice.

Compared to the Wx608v3, the previous version of the shoe, the v4 is a lighter version that has slightly less cushioning. While its ideal for walking and hiking, it’s not an ideal choice for running.



  • Great for plantar fasciitis
  • Stable
  • Inexpensive



  • Less cushioning than v3
  • Not good for running


7. PUMA Tazon 6

If you’re in need of slip-resistant, light weight, stable shoe for cross training and running, the PUMA Tazon 6 is a perfect choice. Made of 100% synthetic leather, the Tazon 6’s feature a rubber sole, removable foam inserts, and a TPU shank to add stability.

The shoe’s EVA heel helps absorb impact during intense workouts. Despite the fact that the shoes appear to have a bulky appearance, many Tazon 6 owners who ordered online were pleasantly surprised by how lightweight and stylish the shoes were in person. At a lower price point, the Tazon 6’s are a good choice for anyone who’s looking for a cheaper option that’s still high-quality.

If you’re looking for sweat-resistance however, the Tazon 6’s are probably not for you. The synthetic leather makes the shoes quite stiff and not very breathable, and they don’t offer a lot of arch support. The Tazon 6’s also tend to run a bit small, so some may need to size up when purchasing these.



  • Inexpensive
  • Sturdy
  • Slip-resistant
  • Removable inserts



  • Not breathable
  • Stiff
  • Not much arch support


8. ASICS Gel-Craze TR 4

With shock absorption features and a grip sole, the ASICS Gel-Craze TR 4 is an optimal choice for high-impact exercise on hard surfaces, from Zumba to weight training. The Gel-Craze TR 4 is equipped with a fuzeGEL midsole, a combination of gel and foam that provides lightweight comfort, and is tuned to provide rear foot shock absorption for responsive bounce back that makes it easier to transition between lateral movements. The shoes also use ASICS High Abrasion Rubber in the outsole for durability, and have a 1-inch platform to provide cushioning. Gel Craze TR 4s are synthetic with a rubber sole, and tend to run at an average price point when it comes to cross trainer pricing.

Gel-Craze TR 4 owners love the look of the shoe and the removable insole. These are a better choice for anyone with flat feet or low arches, since they don’t provide a lot of arch support. Compared to the previous version, the TR 4s also have a thinner, shorter tongue, which may not provide as much comfort as the previous versions of the shoe.



  • Great shock absorption
  • Good for lateral movement
  • Grip sole



  • Not much arch support
  • Thin, short tongue


9. RYKA Women’s Influence Cross Training Shoe

If you frequently attend Zumba classes and need a lightweight pair of shoes that work well for jumps, turns, and high-impact workouts, RYKA’s Influence Cross Training Shoe may be your best bet. Designed specifically for women’s feet, RYKA shoes generally have a narrower heel, roomier forefoot, and a more secure footbed than other brands of workout shoes.

The Influence Cross Training Shoe in particular features a breathable synthetic and mesh upper, flex-foil and direct-fuse support layers that offer lightweight lateral support, and bouncy insole that’s good for jumps. The shoe’s dual density foam midsole, high impact N-Gage EVA, and padded tongue and collar help the shoe keep its shape and cushion you for jump impact. The most unique feature of the Influence Cross Training Shoe is its pivot point, which is ideal for helping you spin and promotes more natural movements.

Although the Influence Cross Training Shoe is reasonably priced, it may not be a good choice if you have wide feet, since the brand does run quite narrow. The shoe doesn’t offer the best support for plantar fasciitis either, so you may want to look elsewhere if you have the condition.



  • Great for Zumba
  • Designed specifically for women’s feet
  • Great for jumps



  • Runs quite narrow
  • Not good for plantar fasciitis


10. Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer

The Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer is a great choice for stability, support, and comfort. The shoe’s main feature is its full-length Air-Sole unit, which is why many find that it feels so cushioned and comfortable. The Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer also sports a leather upper, with perforations for increased airflow, and support overlays, a durable rubber outsole for traction on various surfaces, and a lightweight foam midsole. These features make it a great choice for arch support and lateral movement, and its size run makes it a popular choice for anyone with bigger, wider feet.

Some Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer owners complain that the shoe tends to be quite squeaky, although some people have had success using powder in the shoes to stop them from squeaking. Because of their large size, the Air Monarch IV Cross Trainers are also not the best choice if you’re looking for a more lightweight, compact shoe.



  • Great comfort and support
  • Good for large and/or wide feet
  • Keeps feet stable



  • Squeaky
  • Bigger, bulky shoe


11. Vibram KSO EVO

Although they make take some getting used to if you’ve never worn toe shoes before, the Vibram KSO EVO is a great choice for grip, flexibility, and combining ground feedback (the ability to feel the terrain you’re on through your shoes) with protection.

The KSO EVO is made of polyester, with a lightly padded tongue, trek outsole, and a rubber sole that’s less than 5 millimeters thick, which helps to encourage good form while being durable enough to absorb impact. They also feature a serrated blade lug design and KSO EVO that provides traction on different types of terrain. Like the New Balance Wx608v4s, these are often recommended for those with plantar fasciitis, as their low drop replicates the feeling of walking barefoot.

Unlike other types of cross trainers, these should fit quite snug like a glove, and will stretch over time. Because they are the most minimal, thinnest model of Vibrams and are the closest the brand comes to a barefoot feeling, they don’t offer much arch support, and may wear out faster than other cross trainers or Vibrams. While they run in the middle of the line price wise, the rate at which they wear out might not make them the most price-conscious choice.



  • Very thin and flexible
  • Great for traction and feeling terrain
  • Good for plantar fasciitis



  • No arch support
  • Wear out quickly


12. Inov-8 Fastlift Cross-Trainer Shoe

Although the Inov-8 Fastlift Cross-Trainers are marketed as a weight lifting shoe first and a cross trainer second, they provide solid support for squats, lunges, burpees, and more. Hailed as the lightest weight lifting shoe, the main feature of the Fastlift Cross-Trainers is the external heel cage, which uses power truss technology to add lateral stability and a solid lifting base, with a steep toe drop of 16.5 mm.

The shoe’s upper is made of nylon ripstop, and has an adjustable hook and loop instep strap that lets you get a precise fit. The sticky rubber FastLift outsole makes these ideal for getting traction on hard or rubber indoor surfaces. The padded tongue and collar offer additional stability and support, and a wider toe box gives you plenty of room.

Due to the raised heel, the Fastlift Cross-Trainers are not ideal for running or high-impact activities, and have little shock absorption or flexibility since they’re meant to stay stiff and support your feet during lifting.  Although these are a great price point, they may not be the best option if weight lifting isn’t a primary focus of your cross-training routine.



  • Great for lifting
  • Stable and supportive
  • Reasonably priced



  • Little shock absorption
  • Not flexible
  • Not ideal for running or high-impact activities


Conclusion and Final Cross Training Shoes 2019 Recommendations

At the end of the day, the best cross training shoe will be different for each person, but these 12 choices fuse versatility and support with quality to deliver the best possible cross training performance. Avid cross trainers may be best served by the NO BULL Training Shoes or New Balance Minimus 40s that will keep up with a variety of intense workouts and will be worth the higher price point. Beginners or infrequent cross trainers may want to opt for the more price-friendly Puma Tazon 6s.

If your primary concern is comfort or you have plantar fasciitis, the New Balance Wx608v4 Training Shoes are your best bet, or maybe even the Vibram KSO EVO if you’re willing to try a different type of cross training shoe experience. If you need shoes designed specifically for narrow or wide feet, the Ryka Women’s Influence and the Men’s Air Monarch IV can meet each of those needs, respectively.

Investing in a pair of cross trainers can help save you time, money, and sore feet after a long workout. Armed with our buyer’s guide and best recommendations, you’ll be well on your way to buying the pair of shoes that can help you make the best of your cross training experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cross Training Shoes 2019

What does an “M” or “W” next to a cross training shoe size mean?

Because many cross training shoes come in both men’s and women’s versions, many people assume an M or W next to a shoe size stands for a men’s or women’s shoe, but it actually refers to the shoe’s width. Medium width or regular width shoes have an M or sometimes a B or D next to the size, while wide shoes have a W next to the size, or sometimes a 2E or C/D. Certain shoes may also be available in narrow widths (N, A, or 2A), extra wide widths (XW, 3E, or E), or extra narrow widths (S or 3A). Certain brands may run wide or narrow, so you’ll want to take the brand into consideration when deciding which width shoe to purchase.

Are the insoles on cross training shoes detachable?

It depends on the shoe. Many insoles are removable, but if having a removable insole is important to you, you’ll want to check product descriptions or ask a store employee before buying the shoes. Although cross training shoe insoles are generally meant to be flexible and will offer some cushion, they don’t offer the same kind of cushion you may be used to in a running shoe, so some people like to replace the original insoles with their own insoles or orthotics, especially if you have plantar fasciitis or any kind of knee or foot pain.

What’s the difference between running shoes and cross training shoes?

Although some people use cross training shoes as running shoes, there are some key differences that make cross training shoes a better fit for high-impact, lateral movements. Cross training shoes often have less cushioning and impact protection than running shoes, because they’re meant to be lightweight and move with you during workouts. Running shoes are created with more cushioning so you can stay comfortable during long runs.

Cross training shoes also tend to be made for indoor use on hard surfaces, with special traction and stickiness for rubber or wooden floors, while running shoes can be used outside more readily and are more likely to hold up against the elements. For optimal comfort and support during workouts, it’s best to have 2 different pairs of shoes for cross training and running, although cross training shoes could do for shorter runs in a pinch if need be.

Can cross training shoes be used as walking shoes?

It depends on the shoe. Cross trainers that have more cushion, like the Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV or the New Balance Wx608v4, often work well for walking, whereas shoes with less cushion may not be comfortable enough for long walks. If you’re looking for a shoe you can be on your feet in all day to work in retail or as a nurse, cross trainers generally won’t provide the amount of comfort and cushioning you’ll need, since these are intended for flexibility and lateral movements as opposed to long-term walking, running, or standing. Your cross trainers will also last longer if you only use them for working out instead of using them as all-purpose walking shoes.

What types of workouts can you do in cross training shoes?

Some types of exercises you can use cross training shoes for include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Crossfit training
  • Exercise on hard or rubber indoor surfaces
  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts
  • Weightlifting
  • Zumba
  • Basketball
  • Rope climbing
  • Burpees, box jumps, lunges, jumping jacks, and push ups
  • Tennis
  • Any kind of workout involving lateral movements

Some people choose to use their cross training shoes for running or walking, but they usually aren’t designed for that (see questions 3 and 4). Some cross training shoes are better for certain types of workouts, so be sure to find out which type of workouts the pair you’re looking at are best suited for and see if they align with your workout needs.

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